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  • » 10/24/2008, 00.00

    TURKEY

    European-style reforms save Erdogan from constitutional court ban



    In rejecting the request to dissolve the governing party and exclude its leaders from political life, the court had affirmed in July that the AKP is "the focal point of anti-secular activities," but will not be dissolved because it is promoting the reforms requested by the EU, and those in favor of women and non-Islamic minorities.

    Ankara (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his party, the AKP, are involved in anti-secular activities, but have not been banned by the constitutional court, because of their efforts to apply European union reforms and promote the rights of women. The Official Gazette today explained the ruling, according to which in July Turkey's highest legal body rejected the request to dissolve the governing party and ban its leaders from political life, as requested by the attorney general.

    The accusation was that the party wanted to change the country from secular to religious, introducing Islamic law, which is contrary to the very foundation of the constitution as established by the father of the country, Kemal Atataturk.

    The court acknowledges that the AKP is "the focal point of anti-secular activities" - the reason why it has been deprived of state funding and has received a warning - and that the prime minister, former speaker of parliament Bulent Arinc, and education minister Huseyin Celik "were involved in determined and intense activities" contrary to the article of the constitution that protects state secularism, but because they have promoted the reforms asked for by the EU, and in favor of women and non-Muslim minorities, they have not been banned.

    The statements in the ruling could reignite the controversy between the proponents of secularism and the Islamists. A first taste of this could be in the publication, on Wednesday, of the reasons why the court rejected an attempt to overrule the law banning the wearing of the Islamic headscarf in the universities. The pro-Islamic Zaman says that Turkey is moving toward a "juristocracy," quoting an expert on constitutional law who says that "the situation that has emerged today is more compatible with the definition of a juristocratic [administration of judges] regime rather than that of a democratic one."

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    See also

    14/04/2008 TURKEY
    In Ankara, a "lesson" from Barroso on what the EU means
    On his visit, the president of the European Commission emphasised the political and civil meaning of the Union, called for the resumption of reforms, and expressed preoccupation over the legal proceeding aimed at outlawing the governing party. A visit to the ecumenical patriarchate.

    21/10/2008 KUWAIT
    Two female Kuwaiti ministers risk "dismissal" for not wearing the veil
    A parliamentary committee has decided that their attire, without the hijab, violates the constitution and the electoral law. The matter will now be submitted to a vote in parliament.

    27/08/2007 TURKEY
    Tomorrow president Abdullah Gul will be elected, “moderate” and “Islamic”
    After two failed votes, tomorrow he will be elected without doubt. He has succeeded in gathering Kurds and liberals to his candidacy. Fears surround his Islamic past and the virtual state monopoly that Erdogan’s party will have, but the industrialist support him. Gossip on the First Lady’s veil.

    01/02/2008 TURKEY
    Military and university personnel oppose the abolition of the ban on wearing the veil
    The army, which considers itself the guarantor of state secularism, and the academic boards of some of the universities are aligning against the measure presented in parliament, which would permit the wearing of the veil in schools and universities.

    09/02/2008 TURKEY
    The Islamic headscarf passes, as a "right to study"
    The constitutional amendment in defence of the "right to education" has been passed. Statistics - possibly manipulated - show that many young women leave the country to be able to study and wear the headscarf. The newspapers denounce the Islamisation of the country.



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